Temple Owls

Temple pro day: Haason Reddick rising; Dion Dawkins flexible

Temple pro day: Haason Reddick rising; Dion Dawkins flexible

NFL scouts and coaches from every team in the league flooded into Temple's indoor practice facility for the Owls' pro day on Wednesday.

Temple had 14 participants in its pro day, but nearly everyone's attention was focused on Haason Reddick. The versatile defensive end, who projects as a linebacker at the next level, has watched his stock has ascend over the past couple months.

Reddick, who was projected to be a mid-round pick a few months back, is now projected to go in the first round after his performances at the Senior Bowl and the NFL
Scouting Combine.

At the combine, Reddick ran a 4.52 40-yard dash and leaped 11'1" in the long jump, which both ranked first out of defensive linemen.

Reddick didn't participate in the 40-yard dash at Temple's pro day, but he did participate in individual drills with the group of linebackers. The former walk-on looked comfortable and smooth dropping back into coverage during drills.

Cincinnati Bengals linebackers coach Jim Haslett was running the drills, and seemed to really have an eye on Reddick's skillset. The Bengals, who own the No. 9 overall pick in the draft, need a linebacker. A recent CBS Sports mock draft has Reddick being selected by the Bengals at ninth overall.

Reddick said teams like him at both outside and inside linebacker. He added that playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 system is what feels most natural to him after playing the edge at Temple.

"I just wanted to show what I could do from a position standpoint," Reddick said. "As far as at the combine, I believe with the testing of the 40, the broad and stuff I showed that I'm very explosive.

"I wanted to come here and show the coaches what they haven't seen that much on film."

Matakevich has high praise for Reddick
Former Temple and current Steelers linebacker, Tyler Matakevich, stopped by his alma mater's pro day on Wednesday.

After one year in the NFL with the Steelers, Matakevich sees similarities in Reddick's game with his teammate, Ryan Shazier.

"Absolutely," Matakevich said. "Shazier, he's unbelievable, he's special. I watch film with him every day and I talk to him, and some of the stuff he's able to do on the field you sort of just scratch your head. You're like, 'How did you just do that?' He's smooth, he withers his way through the holes, it's incredible. I think that's what Haason is going to do. He's just going to make plays whatever you do. His athletic ability is just unbelievable and that's what makes him so special and makes him able to do all of these ridiculous things."

Dawkins willing to play anywhere on the line
Dion Dawkins started at left tackle for Temple the past two seasons after battling injuries during his sophomore year.

However, he was listed as a guard at the Senior Bowl and the combine.

Dawkins said it's still unclear where he'll play in the NFL, but he's willing to play at any position on the offensive line.

"Teams see me as a right tackle, some see me as a left, some might see me as a left guard, so it's way up in the air," Dawkins said. "So I'm just taking it as I'm an athlete and I'll fit in the right spot where I'm supposed to fit."

Thomas offers versatility
Jahad Thomas was Temple's deadliest weapon on offense last season. He could line up as the feature back, catch passes out of the backfield and the slot and return kicks.

Thomas said at the combine many teams compared his style of play to dual-threat running backs James White, Darren Sproles and Tyreek Hill.

But one of the criticisms Thomas has faced entering the draft is his size at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, especially with a 4.62 40-yard dash time at the combine. 

Thomas said he plans on continuing to train and add some size leading up to the draft in April.

Deja-vu for Walker
Quarterback Phillip Walker, a two-star recruit out of Elizabeth, New Jersey, who was overlooked in high school, faces a very similar situation entering the NFL draft. After not getting a combine or Senior Bowl invite, Walker had an opportunity to showcase his arm to the scouts and coaches on Wednesday.

"That's when you rise to the top," Walker said. "I just go out there and compete at a high level, and you know I'm not afraid to go out there and compete," Walker said.

Walker has the arm strength, but his decision-making has always been an issue. Leading up to the pro day, he worked with Jenkins Elite, a football player development establishment in Colorado. He said they worked on a scripted pro day workout in order to prepare for Wednesday.

Walker tossed some nice deep balls, but also overthrew some targets. He said he plans on working with his former receivers Keith Kirkwood and Ventell Bryant leading up to the draft.

NFL scouts, coaches like Martin-Oguike's explosiveness
Praise Martin-Oguike made a name for himself in the trenches on Temple's defensive line last season, recording 7½ sacks, 10 tackles for loss and forcing three fumbles.

But Martin-Oguike said teams at the next level really liked his movement in coverage at the linebacker position.

"They said I looked good with the change of direction stuff, so I'm able to play linebacker," Martin-Oguike said. "I have the quickness and I'm explosive enough to play it, so they felt good about that.

"Some teams see me as a rush end, but most teams want me as a rush linebacker or a MIKE linebacker."

Deloatch drawing interest on both sides of the ball
Last year, Romond Deloatch played defensive end and tight end for Temple. He finished the year with 18 catches for 242 yards and a touchdown on offense, while racking up four sacks and seven tackles for a loss on defense.

Deloatch said teams like his experience on both sides of the ball. He added he doesn't have a preference of what side of the ball he's playing on, he just wants to help his team win like he did at Temple.

Williams thinks last year's draft class helped future classes
Last season, Temple players Robby Anderson and Kyle Friend signed on to practice squads and ended up making the team

Avery Williams believes this sends a message to the NFL about the kids coming out of Temple.

"A lot of people overlook Temple University, but what we do to the people who overlook us, we just punch them in the mouth and they can't deny it," Williams said.

Shizz Alston Jr., Quinton Rose lead Temple over St. Joe's in Big 5 battle

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Shizz Alston Jr., Quinton Rose lead Temple over St. Joe's in Big 5 battle

BOX SCORE

With five minutes and 22 seconds left in the first half and Temple trailing St. Joe’s, 26-24, De’Vondre Perry took a three-pointer that hit the back iron and missed long.

Out of nowhere, Quinton Rose streaked down the center of the free throw lane, leaped above everyone on the floor, corralled the offensive rebound and completed the two-handed slam to tie the game, prompting an eruption from the Liacouras Center crowd.

“That’s just how [Quinton] plays,” Shizz Alston Jr. said. “When guys start jawing at him he just turns it up a notch. I think some of their players were talking to him and he just got juiced up off of that.”

The play energized the Owls after a slow start, highlighting a 17-3 run to end the half and leading to an 81-78 Temple victory (see observations). Alston Jr. led all scorers with 20 points, including five three-pointers, and Rose added a 15 point, 11 rebound double-double for the squad.

At the start of the game, St. Joe’s came out hot, hitting on three of their first five three-point attempts and jumping out to a 17-8 lead early in the game. After a Fran Dunphy timeout with just less than 13 minutes left in the half, the Owls seemed to tighten up defensively.

“He just told us we had to pick it up,” Rose said. “It’s simple as that.

"I think we had a lack of communication and the biggest thing is we don’t finish our possessions with rebounds. We give up a lot of second-chance points. We just have to straighten that up and I think we’ll be good.”

Obi Enechionyia and Rose came up with big blocks and Temple started forcing turnovers. This helped the offense get going, in particular, Alston, whose 15 first-half points kept Temple in the ball game despite the hot shooting start by St. Joe's.

Perry, a true freshman, provided a spark off the bench for the Owls, contributing nine points in the first half, including two threes and a tough finish at the rim.

“He showed a lot of toughness,” Rose said. “I mean he’s young, but he showed a lot of toughness on the defensive end and rebounding. He made some big shots for us too.”

Perry attributed a lot of the open looks he got to his teammates.

“My teammates opened it up for me,” Perry said. “Either driving or kicking or just doing what they do best by penetrating and giving me the ball.”

Temple’s star big man, Enechionyia, struggled throughout the game, going 1 for 8 from the field and finishing with four points while being limited to 23 minutes because of foul trouble. Center Ernest Aflakpui came up big in his absence, putting up 12 points on 5 for 6 from the field and adding six rebounds.

“If we can count on a dozen points from Ern every game, that would be spectacular,” Dunphy said. “It’s obviously not his forte, but he did a terrific job. I thought he was poised at the rim and didn’t rush himself.”

In the last five minutes, the Hawks rallied from 16 down and cut the lead to four, but five clutch free throws from fifth-year senior guard Josh Brown sealed Temple’s first Big 5 and Atlantic-10 win of the year.

“I thought Josh Brown saved us at the foul line,” head coach Fran Dunphy said. “I thought he played great again. He played great against Wisconsin and played great again. I’m very, very proud of him.”

The Owls, now 6-2 on the season, will host the No. 4-ranked Villanova Wildcats, who could jump to No. 1 in the country after Duke’s loss Saturday, in another Big 5 showdown this Wednesday at the Liacouras Center.

“It’s a really big opportunity,” Rose said. “I hope they are No. 1 so we can knock them off.”

Temple-St. Joe's observations: Owls hold off late rally

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Temple-St. Joe's observations: Owls hold off late rally

BOX SCORE

Temple on Saturday afternoon nabbed its first win against a Big 5 team and an Atlantic 10 team with an 81-78 victory over St. Joe’s at the Liacouras Center.

With five clutch free throws from fifth-year senior guard Josh Brown, the Owls held off a late rally by the Hawks. Shizz Alston Jr. led the Owls with 20 points and four rebounds, while Quinton Rose added a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards.

Temple moves to 6-2 on the season with the victory.

• St. Joe’s was on fire early on, making three of its first five three-point attempts, en route to a 17-8 lead just over seven minutes into the game.

• After a Fran Dunphy timeout with 12:44 left in the first half, Temple turned up its effort on defense. Big blocks by Rose and Obi Enechionyia allowed Temple to take the lead, 18-17, with 9:30 left in the half. The Owls forced a total of eight turnovers in the first half.

• Alston, Jr. dominated the first half and really kept the Owls in the game during St. Joe’s early run. He went 5 for 8 from the field in the first half, including 4 of 5 from three-point range, for 15 points. The junior guard has developed tremendously since last season, coming into this contest averaging 16.9 points, which is up from 13.9 points per game last year in his sophomore campaign.

• Enechionyia struggled in the first half, going 1 for 6 from the field in 17 minutes of action. He missed multiple fadeaway jumpers on the baseline and didn’t make an impact in the post. He also picked up his third foul less than a minute into the second half and had to go to the bench. The senior power forward finished the afternoon with just four points and six rebounds.

• Junior center Ernest Aflakpui filled in tremendously with Enechionyia on the bench. He scored 12 points while shooting 83 percent from the field, added six rebounds and disrupted shots around the rim.

• De’Vondre Perry also played a big role for Temple, putting up nine points, 6.9 points more than his season average, in 21 minutes of action, which is up from his season average of 12.3 minutes per game. The true freshman did it in a variety of ways as well, driving and finishing at the basket, drawing fouls and adding two three-pointers. Perry was the only freshman to play in the game.

• Rose displayed his incredible athleticism with multiple big plays in the first half. The sophomore guard slashed through the lane and made a contested layup to put Temple up 18-17, and then followed a Perry missed three-pointer with a put-back dunk that caused the crowd to erupt. He also missed a few layups during the game, showing he still can refine his touch around the basket, but finished the game with 15 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block.

• The student section was involved throughout the game, bringing out big-head posters during opponents’ free throws, making noise after airballs and erupting after multiple big Rose dunks. In Temple’s second Big 5 game of the year, the Owls fans needed to out-do the St. Joe’s fans who traveled to North Philly, and they certainly did.

• The win marks Temple’s first Big 5 victory of the year, almost two weeks after its 87-83 road loss to La Salle. It was a physical matchup that seemed like it would get chippy. Rose got into a St. Joe’s player’s face after a layup in the first half. Enechionyia was elbowed in the face while going up for a rebound at the end of the first half. Temple was the more physical, scrappy team Saturday, but will need to be better this Wednesday against another Big 5 team, No. 4 Villanova.

The Hawks return to action next Sunday when they host Maine.